There is more to promoting a new book nowadays than setting up bookstore signings, going on media tours, and sharing positive book reviews with others via social media. There are millions of books being published worldwide every year. To make any real headway in this crowded space, you need to be Internet savvy to a degree. You need to become a T-shaped marketer.
What is a T-Shaped Marketer?
Rand Fishkin provided this clear description of T-shaped marketing on his blog along with a helpful graphic:
T-Shaped basically refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few).
In other words, your deep knowledge/ability—the stem of the T—is the content you’ve written about in your books. The flat, horizontal part at the top represents the various creative and analytical skills you can learn to best utilize the Internet in selling those books. A shortlist of the top T-shaped skills you can easily learn is below. Combined (and used consistently), these activities will help you sell more books over time.
T-Shaped Marketer: Guest Blogging and Content Syndication
Blogging, in general, is so important for authors. It can help you develop and maintain a healthy online presence which is crucial to your commercial success.
Blog entries improve your search engine ranking depending on one of the major criteria that search engines are looking for: quantity of posts. Guest blogging will improve your ranking through two other criteria the search engines are looking for: backlinks and traffic.
Content syndication is similar to guest blogging in how it improves your ranking. But it involves sharing already-posted content with other publications in an SEO-friendly way. You’ll learn more about that in this book.
T-Shaped Marketer: HTML Coding for Beginners
There are various reasons why it’s important to have a basic understanding of HTML coding. This knowledge can come in very handy with regard to protecting and improving your website’s SEO. In that case, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the purpose of these two HTML elements in particular: rel=canonical tags and meta noindex tags.
Another time when even a basic understanding of HTML comes in really handy is when converting a manuscript into an .EPUB ebook. There are times when you’re going to have to edit certain aspects of the file that didn’t transfer properly from one program to the next, and that will require you to manipulate the HTML coding within the file.
T-Shaped Marketer: Mobile Marketing
You want all your potential customers to have a positive experience when they visit your website. Some of them will be searching for you through a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection on handheld devices. Others will find you through a hardwired Internet connection on a desktop computer. A mobile-friendly website is one that automatically adapts to be easily viewed on all these devices.
In this book, you’ll learn how to test your own website to see if it’s mobile-friendly. If it’s not, Google will give you the reasons why so you can correct it with the help of your website service provider. Make sure you correct it. Because having a mobile-friendly website is another easy way to improve your SEO.
T-Shaped Marketer: Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising
You can earn a larger readership organically by investing your time in activities such as effective social media marketing, blogging, content syndication, SEO-friendly HTML coding, mobile-friendly website improvements, and self-designed/self-published ebooks and promotional videos. Or, you can invest your money to buy that readership with email and/or text message marketing campaigns, paid book reviews, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. When you spend your time, it will take longer to see results. When you spend your money, you can make things happen more quickly … that is, if you’re doing things right. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be used to sell more books. It can also be used to earn incremental writing income on the side.
T-Shaped Marketer: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google wants to keep its user base happy through these three important search quality factors: expertise, authority, trust (EAT). You prove your expertise online by publishing helpful digital content regularly. Your authority is eventually proven by the number of book reviews, backlinks, and social media followers, likes, and shares that you accumulate over time due to these publishing activities.
In a search engine’s eyes, if your books have more legitimate reviews than other authors’ books within the same genre, your social media sites have more followers, and each of your webpages (e.g., each individual post on your blog, each individual book on Amazon or Kobo, et cetera) have more click-throughs, then you must have more authority than the other authors have. As a result, you’ll rank higher than they do. It’s as simple as that, and it’s all based on algorithms. But expertise and authority are not enough. In fact, trust is an increasingly strong ranking factor for search engines. How to earn trust is discussed in this book.
T-Shaped Marketer: Video Marketing
Did you know that Google owns YouTube? That’s the primary reason why you will want to use video marketing to sell your books; statistics show video content can improve your website’s SEO tremendously, and a strong SEO will help you sell more books over time. In this T-Shaped ebook, we’ll review the different types of videos you can produce—everything from professional book trailers to your very own homemade creations—and the valuable lessons I’ve learned about each type through trial and error over the past nine years.
In the end, you’ll come to see that this type of T-shaped marketing is not only effective; it’s actually a lot easier and more affordable for indie authors to get started (and continue with) than you may think. This book closes with three easy video marketing ideas for indie authors—even those of you who are naturally camera-shy.
T-Shaped Marketer: Social Marketing
Last but not least, I’ll be publishing the final T-shaped installment of this series in November of 2018. Watch for it in a couple of weeks from now. In this book, we’ll be taking a look at the various social media platforms that can help you sell books in much more detail.
I’ll discuss the usual sites I have in the past: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. I’ll also be adding some new ones to the mix. Watch for it!
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